Director, Marketing and Product, Sage Pay
Companies may not always realise that picking the right payment provider can be crucial to helping them achieve the growth they desire.
In just the past decade, we have moved from the initial slow growth of chip and pin to a point where contactless payments are second nature.
Customers expect to be able to pay for whatever they need, with the click of a mouse or tap of a smartphone, tablet or smartwatch.
Companies must harness the power of these new channels to accept payments; but they also need to funnel the fast-moving sales data into other parts of business operations, such as appointment booking, staff rota planning, stock level auditing and compiling accounts.
Integrated payment systems can drive growth
Martin Pitcock, Director of Marketing and Product at Sage Pay, suggests companies need to think very carefully about their payments partner to ensure their technology can empower them to scale efficiently. Even though they might not want additional services on launch, they will almost certainly need integrated payment systems once they start to grow.
When businesses are small or even just starting up, they might just want to take payments, and nothing more.
“However, as they start to grow, they will typically find they have new needs, not just on the payment side, but in additional services. These can include booking engines, HR systems and accounting services that can integrate with payments to provide a seamless service.
Seek a payments partner that offers flexibility
A crucial point to consider in this decision is that companies may not realise that their additional needs, as they scale, are shared by others in their niche. This will typically mean there are applications that are highly targeted to their sector, which they are likely to want to integrate into their payments system soon, or at a later stage in their growth cycle.
It is another crucial consideration in picking a payment provider today who can help you scale for tomorrow, Pitcock adds.
Customer experience is key
Keeping up with technology is one factor, keeping up with changing consumer demands is another. By 2020, 40% of shoppers will belong to Gen Z. It means that digital-savvy customers expect to pay in the quickest, most frictionless way possible.
“Modern consumers want it now, on their terms, and they expect payments to be as easy as showing a payment terminal their mobile or smartwatch,” says Pitcock.
“Businesses need help fulfilling this need for instant gratification; for example, by allowing goods, in particularly big-ticket items, to be paid for in stages through one transaction, which then triggers subsequent payments until the item is paid for.
“This applies to the subscription economy that is now opening up where people pay monthly for everything from Spotify and Netflix to razors or coffee.”
5G will be standard in the next decade
While nobody can be sure what will happen, it is clear that 5G will be the de facto standard for mobile telecommunications, allowing customers to shop and order products in augmented and virtual reality scenarios.
“It’s easy to imagine people using virtual reality on the move to try on clothes or look around a hotel before expecting to be able to make a purchase. With the Internet of Things, you can expect things to move beyond fridges ordering milk to a point where driverless cars could take themselves off to the garage to be filled or charged up before they come home.
Keeping abreast of these opportunities is what will help some businesses thrive, while others become obsolete.
It is almost a given that businesses need to work with a service they can trust to allow frictionless payments to flow in and out of their business. However, with rapidly evolving customer behaviour – and expectations – businesses need to look for a technology-driven growth enabler that will turn technology challenges into new opportunities to scale and thrive.